(University of Bristol) – Stress is a major burden in many people’s lives affecting their health and well being. New BBSRC-funded research led by the University of Bristol has found that genes in the brain that play a crucial role in behavioural adaptation to stressful challenges are controlled by epigenetic mechanisms.

Adaptation to stress is known to require changes in the expression of so-called immediate-early genes in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a crucial role in learning and memory.

Until now, however, the underlying molecular mechanisms controlling the expression of these genes have been unclear. The research conducted at the University of Bristol, in collaboration with King’s College London and the University of Exeter, has revealed that stressful events result in epigenetic modifications within immediate-early genes in hippocampus neurons.

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